Thursday, November 19, 2015

Keiichi Hirano

Orix Buffaloes second baseman Keiichi Hirano retired at the end of the season.  Hirano was drafted by the then Orix Blue Wave in the "free agent acquisition frame" of the 2001 NPB draft out of Tokai University.  He became the regular second baseman for Orix in 2004 and made the All Star team for the first time in 2005 before a major injury caused by a collision with a fence chasing a foul ball caused him to miss most of the 2006 season.  After not performing particularly well in 2007, Orix traded him (along with Kenta Abe) to the Hanshin Tigers for Makoto Yoshino and Osamu Hamanaka.  He quickly recovered with the Tigers, winning the Comeback Player award in 2008.  He made the All Star team three times (2010-12), the Best 9 team twice (2010-11) and won Golden Glove awards twice (2010-11).  He left the Tigers as a free agent following the 2012 season and returned to Orix.  He's missed time in two of the past three seasons due to a calf injury.  Now that he's retired, he'll be returning to the Tigers to be a coach with their ni-gun team.

2002 BBM 1st Version #288

2003 Calbee #J-12

2004 Calbee #188

2005 BBM 1st Version #191

2006 BBM 1st Version #128

2008 BBM 1st Version #096

2012 BBM 1st Version #371

2012 Calbee #AS-17

2013 Front Runner Buffaloes Season Summary #21

2015 BBM 1st Version #041
Hirano was known for his head first slides, which BBM featured on several of his cards:

2008 BBM 2nd Version #578

2011 BBM 1st Version #204

2012 BBM 1st Version #258

No comments: